April 27, 2021

Achieve Visual Interest and Style With Plank Widths and Lengths

 


Among the stylish looks you can add to a room – or to your entire home, for that matter – hardwood or laminate flooring in varied plank widths and lengths can help you make a statement. From rustic hardwoods that reveal all the knots and character of natural wood to not-so-faux floors with the care and cost advantages of laminates, express yourself as much in the dimensions of your planking as in the coloration and finishes you choose.

Patterns

Herringbone patterns need well-aligned corners for a precise alignment, so you'll have an easier time achieving this look with narrower boards. At the same time, however, you can use a mixed-width approach with herringbones, and even achieve interesting effects with chevron and parquet designs. These types of patterns also can make your room appear bigger because of the way they counter the obvious shape of the room. Like more-intricate patterns, diagonal plank arrangements also add visual interest. Plan for more material to achieve these patterns, however, because of the need to trim out planks for the specific lengths required.

Once you venture beyond traditional plank arrangements, consider whether you prefer mixed widths with a random or a specific pattern. In some ways, this may remind you of the difference between building a wall out of various sizes of stones versus opting for the uniformity of brick. If you vary plank lengths as well as widths, you can build a two-dimensional pattern – but be sure you fully visualize the final look to ensure that any repeats are as obvious or as subtle as you prefer. Truly long boards make wide planks even more dramatic in appearance and cut down on the end seams between boards for a cleaner presentation.

You'll find abundant advice suggesting that you use three widths in a mixed-plank floor, with 1"-2" of variance between widths, and some flooring manufacturers create collections that assemble three widths into a unified approach. If you're working with hardwoods, remember that you're likely to see more grain in wider planks than in narrower ones, and consider the impact of these natural features the way you would plan to place a patterned rug. The importance of these elements determines whether you achieve a formal look or a more-rustic one, and whether your floor becomes a true showcase for its materials.

The directionality of other elements in the room also takes on a big role in shaping your vision of flooring design. Along with the size of the room and whether it's a box, a circle or an irregular shape, consider transitions such as stairs and hallways, and plan out your floor so it guides the eye harmoniously from room to room and floor to floor.

Borders

Just as a bordered styling can make a stylistic statement in a carpeted or tiled room, hardwoods and laminates can achieve the same types of effects. Whether you choose to build a border out of a contrasting plank width, or opt for a darker or lighter choice to add emphasis, borders can add the same type of impact as the frame you choose for a painting or photograph. In a truly irregularly shaped room or one with curved walls, borders can be difficult to add, but if your space is conducive to implementing them, they can present a distinctive appearance, especially if you continue them from room to room.

Materials and costs

When it comes to flooring costs, narrower and shorter planks tend to demand less of your budget than long and wider ones do, especially if you want hardwoods rather than laminates. That's largely because plank dimensions determine how the boards are cut, and the size of the piece of wood that yields them. Depending on the style you want to achieve, laminates may make your vision easier to realize because they eliminate the surprises of grain structure and coloration that can vary in a natural product. However, to mimic every aspect of hardwoods with laminates, you'll need some variance in plank length, and laminate manufacturers make products that go to great lengths – pun intended – to get that look.

Express yourself

Regardless of how you choose to style your rooms, spend some quality time thinking through, visualizing and confirming the look you'll get. Flooring makes an enduring contribution to your home, so you'll want to ensure that your results will live up to your vision. The design experts at Kermans have the flooring and the smarts to help you accomplish the ultimate expression of personal style and taste. Visit our showroom for an in-depth consultation and find exactly what you want.

March 24, 2021

Vary Flooring Plank Widths and Lengths for Looks and Style

 


Step into an older home and you're likely to see lovingly restored original narrow-plank hardwood floors, often made from oak boards. That older 2.25"-3" width standard dominated home designs for decades, but in recent years, homeowners have opted for many alternative widths, as two trends have enhanced the available options for new flooring, including alternate plank dimensions and new material choices.

Today, just because a floor looks like hardwood doesn't mean it is. Laminates and other engineered materials can give you the appearance of traditional woods with greater water resistance than nature can provide, and the ability to select the color of your floor so you'll know exactly how it will look before it's installed. Along with convincing emulations of natural materials, laminates also come in plank widths that range from old-style narrow to 5", 12" or even 24".

Part of the appeal of wide planks is the practical desire to reduce the number of seams on your floor, both to create a cleaner, more uncluttered look and to minimize areas that can trap dust or dirt. At the same time, wide planks can transform a large room into a cozier space, just as narrow planks can increase the perceived size of a smaller space. Likewise, you can make a narrow space look wider with planks that run parallel to the longest wall and multiply the visual effect. In smaller rooms, however, wide planks may be difficult to optimize to the dimensions of your space, and wider-plank hardwoods offer lower resistance to humidity, which can cause them to cup in response to moister air, a big consideration in areas with wide swings in climate. These big boards need more room to expand and contract, and may buckle, warp or shift more than narrow planks do.

While you're considering wide planks, you also can build a creative look with mixed widths and lengths. Random-width planks can give you the look of hand-sawed wood and create a strikingly rustic style that's right at home in casual interiors. These floors hearken back to Colonial home-building traditions and hand-fitted floors created from trees cut near the home site. Varying widths reflected the need to create as many as boards as possible from every piece of timber.

To optimize the mixed-width effect with modern materials, use three different widths that vary by 1"-2", mixed so the board sizes don't cluster together. Just as bricklayers mix different shades so they don't create clumps of color, your mixed-width floor should avoid unintentional patterns. If you like the look of deliberately patterned flooring, you also can create chevrons or parquet with mixed widths.

Plank length intersects with room style and adds some practical considerations. Shorter planks mean more seams, and too-short planks create a quilt effect that looks choppy or patchworked, especially with wider boards. Longer lengths add continuity and visual proportion, leading the eye across the room in a continuous sweep of uninterrupted lines.

One of the beauties of wider and longer planks – hardwood or laminate – is the amount of character they can reveal in the wood itself. On narrower planks, grain becomes less obvious, and narrow hardwood boards typically exclude knotted areas because they potentially weaken the wood. Go wide, and both these features can enrich the look of your floor, with a rustic appearance that suits a casual style. For a sleeker, more-modern look, you'll want unknotted planks that suit the minimalism of this approach.

Natural hardwoods tend to carry higher prices as plank widths or lengths increase, simply because manufacturers must cut them from larger, taller trees that are in shorter supply. If you love the look of wide wood flooring but prefer a more affordable approach, planked laminates can make these styles easier on the budget.

Whether you're in love with traditional narrow flooring, want a bold, wide look or find the mixed-width style attractive, the design experts at Kermans can help you plan the right approach to suit your tastes. Visit our showroom and find the right plank dimensions for your home d├ęcor.

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